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A complication during the first procedure had left her bedridden with pain and caused heavy bleeding. At her next appointment, the doctor asked her to strip naked.
Danielle, then 27, was confused why a nurse was not present like gynecological exams with other doctors. He again asked her to remove her clothes. During another full breast and pelvic exam involving what seemed to her inappropriate and unnecessary probing, the doctor asked Danielle for her cellphone so he could take pictures. The click of a camera phone shutter startled her because she had placed her phone on silent. She realized the doctor was using his own phone.
By the end of the exam, she was disoriented, embarrassed and angry.
Never mind about scheduling the surgery, she told Dr. Gregory Norwood before leaving his office for the last time. Months before that final appointment, a woman had filed a sexual misconduct complaint against Norwood with the Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure, the state agency that regulates doctors and punishes them when they violate state laws. Board records show she was the first of seven women making similar claims against Norwood between July and September State law lists more than 20 infractions for which doctors might be punished.
Some of these sub-statutes are specific, such as habitual narcotic use or alcoholism and drug possession or distribution. Most often cited in licensure board rulings are more vague statutes. A Mississippi Today- WLBT examination of physician disciplinary records and interviews with patients and their advocates as well as a former top leader with the licensure board paint a picture of a state agency shrouded in secrecy and slow to put in place policies to protect patients from predatory doctors. We compared thousands of federal records dating back to and state databases dating back a decade to analyze disciplinary actions against practicing doctors as well as doctors whose s were suspended, revoked or surrendered.
Mississippi Today and WLBT also found sexual assaults fall under broad such as impairments or disability or professional misconduct, making it difficult for patients and the public to know if a doctor has been disciplined for sexual misconduct.
The licensure board does not disclose how it makes disciplinary decisions or how doctors are referred to the Mississippi Physician Health Program, a rehabilitation program for doctors with addiction issues run by the Mississippi State Medical Association, a powerful physician lobbying group.
Claude Brunson, the outgoing president of the licensure board, declined an in-person interview request and said he could not discuss specific cases.
We have physicians come before us for violations ranging from failure to complete continuing medical education courses to sadly, in some cases, criminal acts. Some physicians can safely practice with restrictions placed on their s. Some must be referred to the physician health program for extensive evaluation. Treatment may be an option. Close supervision occurs for any physician attempting to return to practice. In some cases, termination of the is the only appropriate action. Norwood continued practicing medicine with an unrestricted until more victims came forward.
Another said he fondled and placed his fingers inside her vagina. Norwood asked another woman during a pelvic exam whether she thought about men other than her husband. In November of this year, he will be eligible to ask the board to reinstate his. He certainly denies any wrongdoing, and we believe these people are trying to facilitate civil claims against him and his insurance carrier. A Southaven Police Department investigation is ongoing. Danielle did not file a complaint with the board, but is one of 13 women Memphis-based Wells and Associates is representing in a potential lawsuit.
By contrast, there is no website for doctors disciplined for sexual assault similar to the state-run sex offender registry. That le to a searchable database of active es only — that notably, and unlike other board sites, does not include doctors with current suspensions. You can also search board actions by month going back to Sometimes, though, information is missing.
By some contrast, some states, such as neighboring Tennessee, makes finding disciplinary actions on doctors easy, taking just three clicks. In the past few years, the MeToo movement has shined light on sexual assault and abuse of power. Sexual assault of patients by doctors came into sharp focus after the revelation that Dr. Larry Nassar assaulted hundreds of patients while working as a sports physician at Michigan State University. An April nationwide investigation by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution found that, despite rising public awareness and pressure, states had largely failed to reform the system that punishes doctors.
Mississippi finished last in every category, including transparency, strength of duty-to-report and discipline laws, whether licensure boards have consumer input, and how well-informed regulators are about criminal acts by doctors. The story quoted Dr. Craig reed a few months after the story published, and Hall was hired. Hall also pushed unsuccessfully for legislation to make sex between a doctor and patient a felony. He also more than doubled the of disciplinary actions taken by Craig the year. In MayHall was fired. Although the board was not obligated to give him a reason, he surmised it was his aggressive approach to rooting out bad doctors.
And sometimes discipline is harsh, but it should not be unfair and it should probably not be unexpected. Little has changed since the Atlanta Journal-Constitution story. Before his ouster, Hall says he pushed for stronger laws prohibiting all sexual relationships between doctors and their patients and to end a longstanding practice of treating sexual misconduct by doctors the same as substance addiction. In other words, patients or staff might notice their doctor is drunk or high soon enough to avoid or mitigate any harm.
But often there are no warning s for sexual misconduct, and the harm resulting from an assault is immediate. Some doctors who have been disciplined agree with the need to separate sexual assault from other behavior the board deems inappropriate. In Maythe board suspended the of ear, nose and throat physician Dr. Larry Stewart of McComb, but immediately stayed that suspension if he entered a recovery program. Stewart admits he was wrong to have sex with a patient, but argues the recovery program can set doctors up to fail.
Among doctors with suspended, revoked or surrendered s in the last 10 years with alleged sexual relationships with patients, the records of at least four of them lack any mention of that sexual history or misconduct in official board reports. Scott Hambleton, director of the Mississippi Physician Health Program — a private nonprofit arm of the Mississippi State Medical Association that contracts with the licensure board to rehabilitate doctors — says sexaul predation by doctors is rare, but the program recognizes sexual misconduct can take different forms.
For example a physician who has a drinking problem has an affair with an office worker, Hambleton says. To me, that is neither just nor does it actually promote public safety. It probably has an opposite effect in my opinion. You have to treat the crime, so to speak, appropriately. Physician health programs have become increasingly popular among state medical boards in the last few decades, garnering their share of references in MeToo reporting.
As medical community attitudes on mental health and substance use disorders have shifted from punishment to treatment, state boards have followed suit and started to handle cases among their doctors internally. This includes sexual misconduct, but the majority of the doctors participating in the physician recovery program involve substance use and mental health disorders, Hambleton said.
Should Mississippi consider handling substance use and mental health separately from sexual misconduct cases? Hambleton paused before answering.
In our situation here, we just have a level of expertise that we can lend to the board and help. Others neighboring medical boards that handle cases in house like Mississippi explicitly define and condemn sexual misconduct, including Alabama and Tennessee.
Hambleton maintains participating in the recovery program does not mean doctors are immune from discipline or reproach. Mental health experts agree programs like these are the gold standard for supporting recovery and ensuring patient safety. They tend to work for doctors impaired by substance use or mental health disorders. But, that consensus wanes in cases of sexual misconduct. For some experts, lumping cases of sexual assault and impropriety into the addiction treatment model is an inappropriate response.
Rory Reid, a research psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the University of California Los Angeles, makes a distinction.Sex dating in bolivar mississippi
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